Telephone etiquette is a hot button in my book… the quality of you and your hotel’s salesmanship can be interpreted in just a very few moments. Do you do telephone etiquette training with your staff and practice what you preach?
Often, the only source of communication with our customers is via the telephone. We rely on our telephone service, the number of bars, and quality of the connection to do business. We make calls, leave messages, and hope for a callback. Considering all this, let’s examine the 3 components to telephone etiquette: Answering the Telephone, Leaving a Message, and Recording a Voicemail Greeting.
Answering the Telephone:
The way the staff answers the hotel phone is paramount to the success of your sales efforts. If the tone and manner in which your phone is being answered is not extraordinary, will your guests perceive their guests will be warmly welcomed? How will they judge your service? Will it be same ‘ole same ole’ or WOW!
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Train your staff in the art of telephone etiquette and emphasize the importance of the process. Stand out from the crowd!
Here are some telephone etiquette tips:
- Please tell phone answerers to S L O W D O W N. Answering the telephone is not a race. Even if you are not located in the south – pour on the Southern Charm. Take your time. Make sure there are pleasant tones to compliment your cadence. Smile when you talk. I recently called our hotel in Tallahassee and was greeted by Lydia. Her style and tone of voice was extraordinary and contagious and I felt instantly welcomed!
- Use seasonal “well wishes” in your greeting. “Season’s Greetings from the XYZ Hotel Virginia Beach. My name is Linda. How may I assist you today?” “It’s a beautiful day at the XYZ Hotel Virginia Beach. My name is Linda. How many I be of service today?” “Welcome to Virginia Beach and the XYZ Hotel. My name is Linda, at your service.” Be creative. Be hospitable. Be genuine. Change it up often. Think GSS. Write the greeting-of-the-day down and lay it by the phone for all to see and use. PRACTICE your greeting so it sounds natural and not read from a script.
- Smile. I cannot tell you how much this affects your voice. Hang a mirror above the phone. Before you pick up the receiver, look in the mirror and smile. Your voice will sound much happier. Practice answering the telephone in your daily stand-ups. Emphasize how smiling and a pleasant phone voice makes a guest (and all people) feel. Discuss how you feel when you call somewhere where the operator sounds put off, busy or flustered. What kind of impression does that leave you?
- Don’t give up after the greeting! I called one of our hotels today and was warmly welcomed when the agent initially answered the phone. When I asked to be transferred to my party, the positive tone was immediately negated when the agent’s voice turned frosty and uncaring. Carry the positivity through the entire call and assure the caller that you care. When the caller asks to be transferred to another staff member (especially your sales person), use positive and thankful responses such as, “My pleasure to connect you to Linda!”
- “Can You Hear Me Now?” was an iconic commercial for a major wireless telephone company. We all know it, watched it, mimicked it and even meme’d it. Using your hotel’s branding is a memorable way to develop your image. Start with these ideas and capitalize on established ideas when developing scripts.
Leaving a Message:
But what about the quality and telephone etiquette of our messages. When you hear the beep, are you actually prepared to leave a concise, upbeat and CLEAR message? Or are you often caught off guard on what you want to say, or for goodness sakes, whom you even dialed?
Think about it…. there is nothing worse than accessing your own voicemail and hearing, “ah, hello, ah, this is xohnkb, from ah, the ah, cnlw,d, hotel. call me back at 5552834920.” Couple the incoherent gobble-de-goop with poor tone, impatient manner and unorganized message with the speed in which you leave a message, are you not surprised you don’t get returned call? I know my answer and it often starts with “delete”.
Prospecting is hard enough. Why add boring to the mix. Now is the time to craft a quality message, keep it handy, and use it when leaving messages. (You might need to craft 2, 3, 4 or even 5 different messages depending on the types of calls you make.) Something like,
“Hi John, this is Linda from Great American Hotel Group. I am sorry I missed you. It’s 3 pm on Wednesday, February 17th. I’d like to take a few minutes to explore a couple of ideas on how we can partner with XYZ Company in making their next meeting memorable. Since we spoke, and after last year’s event was so successful, I have been brainstorming on what we might change for this year’s event so as to again exceed your group’s expectations. My callback number is 757.289-8176, that’s 7 5 7, 2 8 9, 8 1 7 6 and again, this is Linda, from Great American Hotel Group. I look forward to chatting with you soon John. Have a great day.”
A memorable message, using highlights from your 30-second elevator pitch, and a personal reference, in a clear, pleasant, upbeat tone of voice goes a long way with our customers. Remember, you are only one of many hotel sales people that are bombarding them with phone calls. Leaving a clear, to the point, calm, happy and purposeful messages gives you an advantage and increases the likelihood of having your call returned.
Recording a Voicemail Greeting:
Lastly, what about your recorded message when the caller is not able to reach you and must leave you a message? What does your voicemail greeting say about you? While I never would encourage you to be kitschy, it is important to be a little bit different. Being a little fun all the while being professional and getting your message across – especially if that is your personality – will assure the caller that you will call them back. Follow all of the above tips learned in Answering the Telephone and Leaving a Message when Recording your Voicemail Greeting.
Be welcoming. Be genuine. Incorporate your property identity into your message. Be you.